Comparison of Mercury and the Moon: A conference
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©1978. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 59, Issue 1, pages 43–48, January 1978
How to Cite
1978), Comparison of Mercury and the Moon: A conference, Eos Trans. AGU, 59(1), 43–48, doi:10.1029/EO059i001p00043., , and (
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
The similarity of the airless intensely cratered surfaces of Mercury and the moon (Figures 1a and 1b) is in striking contrast to the different densities of the two objects. The similar geologic history inferred from the surface record is surprising, since the different size and density of these two bodies might suggest different amounts of radiogenic heating, silicate/ metal ratios, and thermal conductivity (Figure 2). A conference at the Lunar Science Institute, Houston, Texas, on November 15–17, 1976, focused specifically on such comparisons between Mercury and the moon and attracted 75 attendees representing 35 institutions and a full spectrum of NASA-supported lunar and planetary programs. Many problems concerning the geological evolution of Mercury remain unsolved, but from the papers and discussions at this meeting it is clear that possible solutions require, as a first step, the understanding of all the inner planets. Understanding the detailed history of Mercury would be extremely difficult without the framework developed for the moon. Yet without the data from Mercury the stability of this framework could never be tested. Such iterations represent a fundamental approach for not only solving planetary problems but also formulating new questions.